Sunday, March 18, 2012

Battle of the V4s: Honda VFR750R RC30 vs Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC

Honda RC30 vs Aprilia RSV4 Honda RC30 vs Aprilia RSV4
The late-1980s Honda VFR750R RC30 and the current Aprilia RSV4 are both iconic machines, from different generations. But how do the two compare against each other?

What can we say about the Honda RC30 that hasn’t already been said before. Yes, we’re among the vast number of fans which the 750cc V4-engined VFR750R still has more than two decades after it was launched. A mere 3,000 units of this bike were produced between 1987-1990 and even back then, it cost a massive US$15,000. The RC30’s claimed dry weight was 185 kilos and according to some magazine road tests of the era, the bike weighed as much as 215kg with all fluids and a full tank of fuel. And by modern standards, the 750cc V4’s power output was rather ordinary – 112bhp at 12,000rpm, which went up to a more respectable 133bhp with the HRC race kit that was available from Honda.

If the RC30 wasn’t all that powerful and was a bit heavy, what’s the fuss all about? More than 20 years on, why is the world still so taken with the VFR750R? Perhaps there is no logical answer to this question. Maybe it’s the image we have in our minds, of watching men like Joey Dunlop and Steve Hislop and Carl Fogarty racing the RC30 around the Isle of Man. Maybe it’s the bike’s sheer beauty, its racy stance, its single-minded racing focus and the fact that it was designed by HRC that makes it so attractive. Or perhaps it’s the bits inside that Honda V4 – titanium conrods, 360-degree one-piece crank, gear driven camshafts – that make the bike exotic and desirable.

Based on Honda’s RVF750 world endurance and TTF1 racebikes, the VFR750R RC30 was essentially a ‘homologation special,’ built to satisfy the requirements of the World Superbikes series which started in 1988. The first batch of 1,000 bikes was released in Japan in 1987 and sold out quickly, despite a price tag of 1.5 million Yen. The RC30 came to Europe in 1988 and to the US in 1990, by which time it had already won the first two WSBK titles – Fred Merkel won the 1988 and 1989 World Superbikes championships aboard the VFR750R. Apart from WSBK, the RC30 was also very successful at the Isle of Man TT races in the hands of riders like Steve Hislop, Joey Dunlop and Carl Fogarty.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

2013 Bimota DB9 Brivido riding impression

The MCN team travels to Bimota's headquarters in Rimini, Italy, to ride the all-new DB9 Brivido. Fitted with the very powerful L-twin from the Ducati 1198, Brivido is Bimota's new super-naked and is expected to be launched in Europe by the end of this year. So just how good is it? And can it take on machines like Ducati's own Streetfighter?
Source: MCN
Bimota DB9 Brivido Bimota DB9 Brivido Bimota DB9 Brivido

Friday, March 16, 2012

Ducati Monster Diesel: Could have been cool, but isn’t

Ducati Monster Diesel
That's the Ducati Monster Diesel and no, we don't want one!
Ducati Monster Diesel Ducati Monster Diesel Ducati Monster Diesel

Ducati have announced a new special edition model of the Monster – the Monster Diesel – which according to the company epitomizes ‘urban military chic,’ whatever that is. Based on the Monster 1100 Evo, the Monster Diesel is being unveiled this month alongside the new Diesel collection at the fashion label’s stores in New York, Rome and Tokyo.

‘The Monster Diesel and the collection dedicated to it reflect the ‘coolness’ of this iconic motorcycle and our brand in general. The collaboration with Diesel underlines our focus on the style and trends that shape the market and I am delighted to associate our world with that of fashion and, in particular, with Diesel. Both brands globally represent technology and innovation in pure Italian style,’ says Gabriele Del Torchio, President, Ducati Motor Holding.

‘When we had the opportunity to work with Ducati, with last year’s MotoGP sponsorship, we discovered a whole world of shared values and common roots. That brought us the desire to create something new together, and we made it in the only way we know – taking the great know-how of both companies and mixing it with passion and creativity. The results are unique products, characterised by a great mix of design and technology,’ adds Stefano Rosso, Project Leader and son of Diesel founder.

Wayne Rainey on rivalry with Kevin Schwantz, Eddie Lawson, John Kocinski and Kevin Magee

As a guest a honour at the 2011 Stafford Classic Bike Show, three-time 500cc motorcycle GP road racing world champ Wayne Rainey talks about his rivalry in racing with Kevin Schwantz, Eddie Lawson, John Kocinski and Kevin Magee. He also talks about his last race in Misano, in 1993, which ended his career. Wayne is one of our childhood heroes and just listening to him talk is, for us, a privilege. How we wish we could meet him once and chat with him about how motorcycle racing used to be in the 1980s and 1990s...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Husqvarna Nuda 900R wins Red Dot design award
It's official - the Husqvarna Nuda 900R is a paragon of good design. Ahem.

According to Red Dot’s website, their design award dates back to 1955 and is one of the world’s largest and most distinguished design competitions, with more than 14,000 participants from over 70 countries this year. ‘The Red Dot design award internationally reaches more advocates of good design than any other design competition. Its award, the red dot, is the distinctive quality seal for aesthetic forms, moving trends and designers with a strong sense of responsibility,’ claims the institution, which is based in Germany.

The Red Dot jury consists of 30 design experts who present the award in recognition of outstanding design achievements in diverse fields – automobiles, architecture, life science, medicine and consumer electronics. And this year, Husqvarna are one of the winners, getting a Red Dot design award for the new Nuda 900R. ‘The Husqvarna Nuda 900R is the first motorcycle to unite the BMW Group’s proven engineering prowess with elegant Italian flair. With its minimalist design, every element defines the athletic exterior that lends the bike its unique dynamic tension,’ says a press release from BMW.

Aprilia SRV850: High-res pics and more details

Aprilia SRV850
The Aprilia SRV850, a scooter for those who secretly want an RSV4...  :-)
Aprilia SRV850 Aprilia SRV850 Aprilia SRV850

Aprilia first announced the SRV850 in October 2011 and they’ve now released more details of their super-scooter. ‘Everything about the SRV850 recalls the technical, performance and aesthetic standards of an Aprilia superbike. It brings the philosophy of performance without compromise, which is part of the Aprilia DNA, into the world of scooters,’ says the Noale-based company.

As befits a ‘super-scooter,’ the SRV850 is fitted with a fuel-injected, liquid-cooled 839cc V-twin that produces 76bhp and 76Nm of torque. The double cradle steel tube trellis frame and aluminium swingarm have been designed to provide high-speed stability and final drive is via sealed Z-ring chain for maximum efficiency. The SRV850’s suspension – 41mm fork and adjustable monoshock – is also optimized for high-speed handling and cornering prowess. In fact, Aprilia claim that the scooter handles like a sportsbike and lean angles of up to 45° are possible.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

2013 Moto Guzzi California 1400 unveiled, Piaggio announces new Advanced Design Center

2013 Moto Guzzi California 1400
We think the 2013 Moto Guzzi California 1400 is a handsome brute!
2013 Moto Guzzi California 1400 2013 Moto Guzzi California 1400

The Piaggio Group has announced that it will open a new Advanced Design Center in the US – in Pasadena, California – and this will be headed by designer Miguel Galluzzi, who has been responsible for designing bikes like the Ducati Monster, Cagiva Raptor and Aprilia RSV4. ‘With the expansion of our industrial and commercial operations around the world, we are also implementing an ‘intelligence globalization’ policy to create an international system of competences in the areas of product marketing and style,’ said Roberto Colaninno, Piaggio Group Chairman and CEO.

The announcement was made at a Piaggio Group Americas convention in Miami, which was attended by more than 300 Piaggio distributors and dealers based in the US, Canada and South America. During the presentation, two new bikes were also unveiled – the 2013 Moto Guzzi California 1400 (which will soon be launched in the US) and the all-new Aprilia Caponord 1200.

Coming back to the Advanced Design Center in California, this will work closely with the Piaggio Group Style Center, which is headed by Marco Lambri, as well as Group R&D centers in Italy, China, India and Vietnam. ‘Setting up a research center in California opens a window on the changes that will be taking place in our society, way of life, and urban and metropolitan mobility models in the next few years. The new Advanced Design Center in Pasadena will be working not only at the cutting edge of style developments, but will also be cooperating with the world’s top universities and research centers,’ said Colaninno.

2012 Suzuki GSX-R1000 tested at the Homestead-Miami Speedway

On this episode of On Two Wheels, Bradley Adams of Sport Rider heads to the Homestead-Miami Speedway to test the 2012 Suzuki GSX-R1000...
Source: Sport Rider

2012 KTM 990 Supermoto R gets 9M+‑ABS from Bosch

2012 KTM 990 Supermoto R
KTM really have got the recipe right with the 990 Supermoto R...
2012 KTM 990 Supermoto R 2012 KTM 990 Supermoto R 2012 KTM 990 Supermoto R 2012 KTM 990 Supermoto R 2012 KTM 990 Supermoto R 2012 KTM 990 Supermoto R

The 2012 KTM 990 Supermoto R, which the Austrian company claims is ‘the most radical twin-cylinder Supermoto on the market,’ now gets Bosch 9M+‑ABS. Er… yeah, that’s the big news on KTM’s big supermoto – an updated anti-lock braking system which makes the bike safer. With its 114bhp fuel-injected liquid-cooled 999cc V-twin, we suppose the Supermoto R is still as much fun to sling around corners as it ever was, but now when it’s time to throw out the anchors with full force, the new Bosch system is likely to keep you from ending up in a ditch.

As with all KTM bikes, the chassis and suspension on the 2012 Supermoto R are top-notch. The tubular space frame made of chrome-molybdenum steel, WP 4860 ROMA USD front fork (160mm travel), WP 4618 BAVP DCC monoshock (180mm travel) and twin floating 305mm brake discs up front with radial-mount four-piston calipers, the whole package is fully optimized to go fast not just in a straight line, but also around corners. With the back wheel always drifting sideways, if you wish. The bike weighs 192kg dry, which does seem to be a bit heavy, but at least the 15-litre fuel tank should provide some decent range, should you choose to go touring on the Supermoto R. But the (hypothetical) bike that would interest us most would be a new KTM 690 SMC R stuffed with an engine from the 990 Supermoto R. Now that should be fun… :-D

2012 KTM 990 Supermoto R

2012 KTM 690 SMC R: ‘What isn't there doesn't weigh anything…’

2012 KTM 690 SMC R
The KTM 690 SMC R is all about going around corners as fast as possible, often sideways, and then lofting the front wheel up while powering out of those corners...
2012 KTM 690 SMC R 2012 KTM 690 SMC R 2012 KTM 690 SMC R 2012 KTM 690 SMC R

KTM say that the design philosophy for the 2012 690 SMC R is, ‘What isn't there, doesn't weigh anything either.’ Er…, yeah, well, we suppose that means the bike doesn’t have anything that’s not needed for going very fast around corners, at full throttle and often sideways. The bike’s single-cylinder fuel-injected liquid-cooled 690cc ‘LC4’ engine kicks out a frenetic 66 horsepower and the 6-speed transmission lives with a hydraulically operated APTC anti-hop clutch, making it easier for you to perform epic acts of two-wheeled heroism around mountain twisties. Or the local supermarket parking lot, as it were.

As you would expect, the running gear is all top-class, with a tubular space frame made of chrome-molybdenum steel, WP 4860 ROMA USD fork (250mm travel), WP 4618 monoshock with Pro-Lever linkage (250mm travel), single 320mm floating brake disc at front with radial-mount four-piston brake caliper and 240mm brake disc at the back. With a wheelbase of 1480mm, ground clearance of 270mm, 12-litre fuel tank and dry weight of 142kg, the KTM 690 SMC R is definitely one hell of a pocket-rocket that will wheelie and drift endlessly. Get one for the hooligan inside you.

Stoner’s, Rossi’s Ducati racebikes up for sale

Ducati's MotoGP bikes up for sale Ducati's MotoGP bikes up for sale Ducati's MotoGP bikes up for sale Ducati's MotoGP bikes up for sale
Willing to spend vast sums of money on bikes you'd probably never ride? Here's your opportunity to bid for Stoner's and Rossi's Ducati Desmosedici GP10 and GP11 machines!

Ducati recently announced that two Desmosedici MotoGP racebikes – a GP11 ‘VR2’ raced by Valentino Rossi in 2011 and a GP10 ‘CS1’ raced by Casey Stoner in 2010 – will be put for sale. The bike will go on the block at RM Auctions' 2012 Monaco sale at the Grimaldi Forum on 11-12 May this year. Both machines come directly from the Ducati Corse racing department within the Ducati factory in Bologna, Italy.

Ducati represents the pinnacle of two-wheeled desirability with a reputation for world-beating performance and unmistakable design. We are very excited to be working with yet another leading manufacturer and to have this exclusive opportunity to offer items that are not normally available to the public,’ says Peter Wallman, specialist at RM Auctions.

Built at the Ducati factory in Borgo Panigale, Bologna, in December 2009, Casey Stoner’s Ducati Desmosedici GP10 ‘CS1’ was first started for bench testing on 14 December 2009 before being track tested by the Australian rider in Sepang, Malaysia in February 2010. Stoner first competed with CS1 in Qatar in April 2010 and raced it to victory in the Australian GP at Phillip Island in October 2010. The machine took pole positions in Qatar, Phillip Island and Valencia and powered the Australian to podium positions in Valencia, Assen and Catalunya. Its final Grand Prix was in Valencia, November 2010 having logged a total of 4,232km.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Akrapovič: 20 years of power and noise

Akrapovic Akrapovic
Igor Akrapovič (above, left), the man who established Akrapovič back in 1990. And (above, right) the Akrapovič R&D team today, outside the company's factory in Slovenia. Below: An exhibition of various racebikes fitted with Akrapovič exhaust systems, at the Technical Museum of Slovenia, in Bistra
Akrapovic Akrapovic Akrapovic Akrapovic

Readers of the German motorcycle magazine, Motorrad, recently voted Akrapovič as ‘best brand’ in the motorcycle exhaust systems category. Akrapovič (pronounced ‘Ack-rap'-o-vich’) was set up in Slovenia in 1990 by Igor Akrapovič, an ex-racer himself and someone who had spent more than a decade racing in motorcycle F1 and World Superbikes series. Igor says that back then, high-quality performance exhaust systems for motorcycles simply weren’t available, which is why he decided to set up a company that would manufacture high-performance exhaust systems for bikes.

Made under the ‘Skorpion’ brand back then, the exhausts established new concepts in construction, tube diameters and materials. Igor used high-quality stainless steel for the exhausts made by his company, and also started using more exotic materials like titanium and carbonfibre. By early- to mid-1990s, manufacturers like Kawasaki, Yamaha, Suzuki, Ducati and Honda had already started using Skorpion/Akrapovič exhaust systems on their racing bikes in the Pro Superbike Championship series.

In 1997, the company changed the name of its exhaust systems from Skorpion to Akrapovič and after its successes in Pro Superbike, made a move in World Superbikes. They also started working on exhaust systems for off-road bikes, working with manufacturers like KTM and Husqvarna. By 1999, all Japanese teams were using Akrapovič systems on their WSBK machines and by 2002, the company had also moved into the MotoGP class. In 2011, Akrapovič celebrated their 20th Anniversary and sponsored an exhibition featuring some of their key championship winning race bikes at the Technical Museum of Slovenia, in Bistra.

Friday, March 09, 2012

2012 MV Agusta F3 vs Triumph Daytona 675R

It's Italian exotica vs British Beef as the MV Agusta F3 takes on the Triumph Daytona 675R in a battle of racy, high-revving three-cylinder engines and quick shifting gearboxes...

2012 Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200: High-res pics, tech specs

2012 Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200
The 2012 Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200, perhaps the best maximotard in the world...
2012 Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200 2012 Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200 2012 Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200

Aprilia have updated the Dorsoduro 1200 for 2012 with improvements made to the chassis, ergonomics and electronics. The bike’s 90-degree 1200cc V-twin produces 130 horsepower at 8,700rpm and 115Nm of torque at 7,200rpm. It also features advanced ride-by-wire electronics and three different throttle maps – for rain, touring and sport riding modes. Anti-lock brakes and traction control are available as optional extras.

Changes on the 2012 Dorsoduro 1200, which was first shown at the EICMA in Milan last year, include new three-spoke wheels that are 2.3 kilos lighter than five-spoke hoops used on the old bike, revised suspension settings and revised traction control settings that work in conjunction with the selected riding mode (rain, touring, sport). The bike also gets new colour schemes and a new front fender and is 3kg lighter than the old 1200.



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